Bay official returns to work after two years

Chris Jamda

Suspension ended with written warning but matter not over yet

A two-year-long paid suspension came to an end yesterday after Nelson Mandela Bay senior official Chris Jamda returned to work in the municipality’s corporate services department. Jamda was one of three senior municipal officials suspended in 2015 after former mayor Danny Jordan took office.

Jamda’s paid suspension cost the taxpayer R1 301 347.43 a year.

His suspension was part of a move to crack down on alleged misconduct within the municipality, which saw more than 12 senior officials served with suspension letters.

They were accused of various irregularities, gross negligence, failure or refusal to cooperate with an investigation, and municipal law violations.

But city manager Johann Mettler said Jamda would not remain in his post for long as the municipality intended to take the matter up with the Labour Court.

Jamda would be expected to stay at home pending that court decision.

The municipality’s labour council, chaired by an outside party, ruled on September 28 that Jamda be issued with a written warning.

Jamda said yesterday he was reluctant to settle back into his old job.

“It has been very distressing to sit at home for more than two years. I mean, you can’t really enjoy money that you didn’t work for.

“Even now I am half expecting them to walk in here with security guards to remove me, so I cannot exactly relax.”

He said he considered the money spent paying his salary to be fruitless and wasteful expenditure and that he did not understand why the suspension took so long when it should not have lasted more than three months.

“In my matter there was no reason why the suspension lasted for two years. The case kept being postponed and in the past year I have heard nothing from the municipality.”

Jamda said he was ecstatic at the final outcome, and maintained his innocence.

His attorney, Chris Unwin, confirmed that Jamda was subjected to an internal disciplinary process chaired by an external chairperson.

“My client is of the view that the matter is finalised insofar as the [municipality] may take disciplinary action against him and that he should return to work.

“Any further absence from work whilst he is fully paid and any court proceedings are an unnecessary expense,” Unwin said.

He said Jamda had initially faced five charges, with three of those abandoned. He was subsequently found guilty of one charge – misconduct.

Mettler, however, said the matter had been delayed by Jamda.

“We want to review the decision as we hold a different view.

“In terms of the seriousness of the offence we believe there were enough grounds to dismiss.”

Mettler said some of the other matters had been concluded, with some officials back at work. Others would be concluded soon.

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